Thursday, 5 September 2013

Maumere onwards:
The gala dinner was memorable if only for the tropical downpour half way through the proceedings. Caught unawares, there was a mad dash in the tenders back to close hatches - it was the first rain we had had since Portland Roads north of Cairns (middle of June). It didn't dampen the spirits too much - it was a fun evening.
Kittani and Tintin headed off the next morning for Batu Boga where we tucked into a secluded cove amidst reef and had drinks on Juliana 11 - just the 3 boats in the anchorage for the evening.  The next day was another early start just after sunrise and our destination was Riung, though we had heard anchoring could prove difficult with much fringing reef around the town. Again we motor sailed as the winds were only light but we made good time to Riung. After poking our nose in towards town, we decided against it and went another 2 miles on to Monkey Bay. It was a long winding approach through the mangroves but good deep water and eventually opened into a beautifully secluded well protected bay where we found 6 other boats anchored. Sundowners on 'Thylacines' that evening, a large catamaran that hosted 20 of us comfortably. It was such a peaceful spot that we decided to stay an extra day and enjoy sound night sleeps. The second day we headed with Tintin in our tenders to a couple of the outer islands, which we had seen on arrival in Riung and had beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters. We spent a couple of hours snorkelling then made our way into the town in search of lunch. On the way we passed a rice field with a resident water buffalo taking a bath - he looked so cool.

The islands where we snorkelled near Riung   

                                             Jacqui and Kevin in their tender off the beach

                                      Such lovely white soft sand and the clearest of water

                                        How cool does this guy look - and the smoothest skin!

My view through the port hole as I cook dinner
Our next stop was Lingeh Flores, where on anchoring, we were inundated with locals in fishing boats selling vegetables, fish and even lobster. We tried to explain that the lobster they had caught was female (she was carrying her eggs) and that they should throw her back. They didn't seem to understand, however, after we declined, they moved on to the next boat but washed off the eggs before they got there. They understand more than they let on!!!
From there it was on to Gili Bodo which we had heard was a lovely spot. Arriving just after lunch, we dropped anchor in 12ms just off the reef and could see clearly through to the bottom. The coral looked fantastic so it was in for another snorkel and we weren't disappointed. The fish life was amazing as well as the coral colours. We could see monkeys on the beach a stone throw away. Word went over the VHF for a beach bar-b-que so we delved into the fridge and freezer to see what we could rummage up. Supplies were getting low as we were only a day away from Labuan Bajo, our next major port for provisioning. I had found some rump steak tucked away which cooked up nicely on our 'bar-b-que plate' (an old plough disk courtesy of Gregory) Everyone pooled what salads they had and we had a great meal watching the sun set yet again in our little part of paradise. Again we decided to stay an extra day and snorkelled morning and afternoon the following day, playing with a couple of cuttlefish nearly 2 feet in length. Amazing animals that change colour before your eyes depending on whether they are feeling threatened. Pete was thinking grilled calamari, but these gentle creatures mate for life - couldn't possibly hurt them. Tomorrow it's off into Labuan Bajo and Internet to Skype with family again. Looking forward to that. As well as getting supplies - fuel, water, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables.

                                   Pete and self on the top deck of our dive boat

                                       Jacqui and self getting ready to snorkel
Kevin and Pete suited up and ready for 1st dive
LB (as it is commonly known) was a great couple of days. Nice to get ashore and have a choice of restaurants again. We are obviously getting closer to Bali as the influence of tourism is more apparent. Boutique shops are appearing, and for a small town there are 30 dive shops!!! Obviously an area famous for its dive sites. And a bakery with real grain bread (not the airy white stuff you can purchase pre-wrapped in cellophane that has no substance to it) - what a treat. I think their business is booming this week with all us yachts in town. No sooner does it come out of the oven it has been purchased, and we even have to put in an order to ensure getting some. A small Roxy supermarket but enough to get the basics we were needing. Yesterday we headed off with Jacqui and Kevin for a day trip of diving and snorkelling. What a day. The guys comments were the best dives they had ever done (3 dives in the day). Jacqui and I snorkelled each time and were amazed at the coral and fish life that we saw. By far and away a highlight of the rally for us.

 Lion fish

                              Blue Fan coral

  More amazing coral

This was one well camouflaged fish


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